Drones 101

Todd Ruffin with Midwest Drone Productions and Dan Bewley with Your Story Media in Tulsa prepare for a drone flight.
Todd Ruffin (left) and Dan Bewley (right)

Our goal when producing a video is to tell the best story possible using the best images possible. A lot of times that requires going above ground level to get a bird’s eye view. We do that with a drone. We’re proud to partner with Midwest Drone Productions to help us provide those unique angles. 

Todd Ruffin with Midwest Drone Productions in Tulsa prepares to fly his drones.
Todd Ruffin of Midwest Drone Productions

Drones have grown in popularity over the years and a lot of people have questions about them. So we asked our expert drone pilot Todd Ruffin of Midwest Drone Productions to clear up the confusion and tell us about his industry.

Todd Ruffin with Midwest Drone Productions in Tulsa prepares to fly his drone.
Todd Ruffin prepares his drone.

Tell us about your background and what got you interested in drone photography.   My background is video production. I begun to get interested in drone photography and video as soon as they were available to buy. A drone is like having a camera on a jib boom, helicopter, and even (with good GPS) a measurement tool.

What kind of projects have you worked on?  Roof inspections, Industrial pipeline video and other energy type jobs, construction progress management with the use of drone, real estate photography and video, Local area casino photo and video, disaster relief and documentation in Houston during hurricane Harvey.  

Todd Ruffin flying his drone

What kind of certification or training do you have?  I am currently licensed with the FAA as a sUAS remote Pilot. I am required to take a FAA knowledge test every two years to meet the requirements of maintaining this certification. I am also a member of Drone Pro Academy, and I am also a founding member of Certified Remote pilots Association of America.

Are there any laws or regulations that you think should be changed or added?  Not at this time

Are there restrictions on where or when you can fly?  There are many restrictions on where you can fly.  There is different classes of Airspace controlled by the FAA. Some airspace requires special authorization. There are also areas where you can never fly. This includes areas within close proximity of airports, and critical infrastructures.

Todd Ruffin with Midwest Drone Productions in Tulsa

What are some of the biggest misconceptions of professional drone photography? That it is illegal for a drone to fly over your property. It is not illegal for a drone to fly over private property, just as it is not illegal for a helicopter to do the same. Another is that Drone crashes can cause a lot of damage.  In rare cases they can, however if the operation is performed in the safest way these “bad” crashes can be avoided.

What do you want the general public to know about professional drone photography and/or the pilots who operate the drones? I would like people to know that we are licensed and insured and like any type of flight operation, we  are restricted in certain ways by federal airspace laws.

What do you see as the future of drone photography? The Sky is not the limit! Drone cameras continue to improve. Basically every 4 months a new camera is available on a drone.   These upgrades are huge steps each time. Imagery standards are definitely on the rise. 20mp is starting to become the standard. I believe that will continue to go up based on the multiple applications for drones. The higher the quality the better analysis can be made.  

Todd Ruffin with Midwest Drone Productions flys his drone in downtown Tulsa.

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